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CCATP #720 – Jill from the North Woods on Switching from Windows to Mac

Jill from the North Woods, host of the delightful and inspiring Start with Small Steps Podcast at smallstepspod.com decided a few years ago that she wanted to switch from Windows to the Mac. I was a bit of an enabler on this, so I’ve been watching her adventure with great interest. She recently made the final hard switchover and I thought it would be interesting to for you to hear her story. She’ll talk about why she wanted to switch, how she tried to switch, challenges with hardware and software, and how she finally accomplished the switch.

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Rough outline of our conversation:

Before the Switch

  • This feels like a three-part play 1. Use Windows 2. Buy a MacBook but never use it 3. Move away from Windows and towards Mac OS.
  • I started to move apps over to Mac or replace them slowly. Most of my apps are cross-platform, Capture 1 for raw photo editing. Three of my favorite games are available on Mac (Civilization VI, Minecraft, Sims4, American Truck Driver, and European Truck Driver)
  • Some apps I liked on Mac but have not spent any time trying them. I rarely spent time on the MacBook beyond podcast activity.
  • I stopped buying any app that could not be used on a Mac.
  • I tried plugins for Hindenburg, but the heavy processing took 30 minutes for an episode to export, but with the MacBook was 90 seconds. I realized even some games like Civilization VI were laggy and slow but ran better on Mac.
  • PC is aging but still plays the type of games I like, but I don’t play much in reality.
  • MacBook s always upstairs in a bag when I took it to my friend’s house. So I rarely used it.
  • Mac Mini is a dedicated Podcast Recorder/ Carbon Copy Cloner / Backblaze machine which is fine, and it works great for those jobs.
  • I am about to start traveling again for work and wanted to record many podcasts and edit them in the hotel room, so I was thinking about making sure the files stay in sync and back up. I worked on CCC to sync files to my Synology drive, which I can’t do on Windows as quickly. I wanted everything set up on the MacBook for when I am stuck in hotel rooms.
  • It got to the point of this not working or at least working as well as it could if I just stopped switching.

The Switch

  • In bed realized you forked out the money to buy one of the most powerful laptops, better than my desktop, and it sits in a bag.
  • I tested Win11, was disappointed and wondered why I keep hoping Windows will improve. Consumer use of Windows feels abandoned. Windows 11 is worse in many ways. They keep promising to update OneNote, and yet it never comes out. Unless you are interested in Teams or games, MS has nothing for you.
  • There were apps like Day One I wanted to tinker with more, but it’s only on my laptop sitting upstairs. Why am I doing this?
  • My monitors can take three inputs. 1. my Windows desktop 2. It is my work laptop which is nice since I permanently work from home. 3 could be the MacBook. I needed a way to plug it into two HDMI. The OWC USB-C to Dual HDMI 4K Display Adapter with DisplayLink would allow my MacBook to have two monitors.
  • The monitors have a soft monitor switch, and I have a mouse and keyboards that allow up to three connections. (Logitech MX)
  • I needed to move my Stream Deck over, so I used the Anker 9-in-2 USB C Hub for MacBook for more ports or a cable to switch it over to USB C. Why are ports such a rarity?
  • Anker USB C Charger 120W, 547 Charger, PowerPort III 4-Port Charging Station for MacBook Pro so I can charge my work Lenovo T15 and the MacBook, and all my iPads/iPhone.
  • The Windows machine is now hooked up to the TV, which has a gaming setting, so it is perfect.
  • I had time last weekend and needed a new project to sink my teeth into it. I started moving everything over. The learning curve is pretty big with Mac. I found Windows intuitive, but there are things in Mac that will take getting used to. There are a few things I want to learn, like the way properly mount or unmount external drives work in Mac. How do I want to organize files on my MacBook? How can I more effectively use Finder? Is everything I did or shortcuts I made on the desktop in Windows now on Mac?

In the future

  • I want to try automation and more exciting buttons on Stream Deck. What more can I do that I could not do before?
  • I still use Windows for Stream games that are not available on the Mac (like Satisfactory, No Man’s Sky, and Forza Horizons 4 and 5). They can stay on Windows and the TV until the PC dies. Then? I might get a Steamdeck or XBox in a few years. But honestly, my gaming is maybe 2 hours a week. I am more interested in podcasting.
  • Learning curve and troubleshooting is a slog and still annoying. Everything feels more time-consuming. Missed functionality has to be replaced. For example, my podcast production needed Loopback, but I got the package with Audio Hijack because Allison loves their products. Also, I got Sound Source to replace a Windows feature.
  • I’m trying many apps I hear about on podcasts and Parallels Desktop and SetApp.
  • Still, I wouldn’t say I like Finder vs. File Explorer. I want files to delete when I hit delete, and if I click on an app in the dock, it should shrink back down! But there are shortcuts I can learn and get used to. Sometimes I am just boggled by a reaction of clicking on something and getting nothing or opening the wrong window. I am getting used to it.
  • I worry that I am wrecking my battery by having it docked all the time.
  • I appreciate the increased security and interesting features I never had before, like automation, and I enjoy how everything in the Apple universe works together.
  • I want to get an Apple keyboard with Touch ID, but is it worth $149 to stop logging in, mainly when many authentication pieces work with Apple Watch logins.

Goal Met

  • A few years ago, my goal was to own one computer in laptop form that does everything, and while I still own three, the spirit of that goal is met.

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